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Capital Metro

By Mark Parton - 16 May 2014 195

light-rail

The closer we get to the magical fairytale of light rail in Canberra, the more it appears that the accounting on this big ticket item has come from the Brothers Grimm.

At the start of this week, Treasurer Andrew Barr was up in arms because of the story that the Canberra Times had run suggesting there would be a city wide levy on rates to pay for toy train line.

He told me that was just incorrect.

“Ok Minister, so you can categorically rule out a city wide levy ?”
“Oh no,” said Mr Barr, “I’m not in the business of ruling things in and ruling things out at this stage.”
“So was the Canberra Times correct in their suggestion ?”
“No they were wrong.”
“So you can rule it out ?”
“No I can’t”

It became an endless conversation and it left my listeners believing that there was as fair chance they would be subject to a city wide levy.

I spoke to the Chief Minister, the morning after the Federal Budget and she wasn’t much clearer.

I put it to her that government “didn’t seem to have any idea how we were going to find the money for this project.”

She explained to me that, it’s not like that I have no idea, it’s just that they have lots of ideas and they haven’t decided which one to go with yet.

And NOTHING is being ruled in or out.

I’m not diametrically opposed to light rail in Canberra. I think if we could wave a magic wand and create a line between Gungahlin and Civic tomorrow it would be wonderful for our city. But we can’t.

Is there anyone reading this who believes the project will be delivered on time and on budget?
Yes Capital Metro has the potential to genuinely propel our city into the 21st century, but at what cost?

What’s Your opinion?


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195 Responses to
Capital Metro
31
Willoring 8:00 am
19 May 14
#

Sorry, FHW.
Happy to spend money on bike infrastructure, but got to draw the line somewhere. Close to a $billion for feel good doesn’t cut it for me.

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32
banco 8:41 am
19 May 14
#

FHW said :

The main advantage that light rail has over bus is that the buses are limited to two bicycles at one time.

Having room for more than 2 bikes means
a) families can go for trips together on weekends (eg take the kids to Commonwealth Park)
b) the catchment area for light rail is a lot greater than walking distance from the route. It could take on people from a few kilometres away (depending on how energetic they feel)

It also has a lot of feel-good associated with it. Cities with trams are often more popular than those without.

I don’t see how these benefits would justify a project that’s going to cost hundreds of millions and require huge subsidies to operate.

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33
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 9:10 am
19 May 14
#

FHW said :

It also has a lot of feel-good associated with it. Cities with trams are often more popular than those without.

What scares me is that this is probably the main reason in favour of light rail. And it is not a good reason.

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34
justsomeaussie 9:12 am
19 May 14
#

While I’m not overly enamoured by the idea of a light rail in general but I’ve wondered why not just normal light rail till it gets to Cooyong then turns into civic and then upwards into a monorail (plenty of mountain trains go uphill easily) and then the monorail connects to the Canberra centre. It makes sense to maximise the use of space by going vertical without all the huge amounts of pain of putting a complete elevated railway in.

That way other town centres can build their light rail in the future and all can just connect into the elevated station in civic.

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35
switch 9:34 am
19 May 14
#

Some people need to re-boot their sarcasm meter for FHW’s posts. It it a Monday morning thing?

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36
dungfungus 9:59 am
19 May 14
#

FHW said :

The main advantage that light rail has over bus is that the buses are limited to two bicycles at one time.

Having room for more than 2 bikes means
a) families can go for trips together on weekends (eg take the kids to Commonwealth Park)
b) the catchment area for light rail is a lot greater than walking distance from the route. It could take on people from a few kilometres away (depending on how energetic they feel)

It also has a lot of feel-good associated with it. Cities with trams are often more popular than those without.

LRT is primarily for commuters. There would be a secondary benefit for energetic families to take bikes as you suggest but you are talking about weekend and holiday times and if Action bus services at these times are a yardstick then expect a long wait or no service at all.
Suggesting that trams are a feel good thing is the novelty effect for people who travel on them periodically and by choice. People in Europe who are crammed into trams like sardines don’t feel good. They would rather be driving their own cars but most can’t own a car because they can’t park at home or at work. Canberra was designed and built for cars and that is the way it will always be. There is a hint of “build it and they will come” in your post.
Remember the futsal slab?

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37
dtc 10:34 am
19 May 14
#

I trust that y’all complained about the Majura Parkway as well, since it

a. costs a lot of money
b. gives no economic return
c. only links north canberra to the Highway and thus is of no benefit to people living in Tuggeranong or Woden etc
d. isnt going to be delivered on time (dont know about on budget)

In other words, exactly the same arguments as are being put about light rail.

The one difference is that the parkway is generally out of sight and out of mind.

Oh, and how could I forget – its about cars and not public transport.

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38
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:53 am
19 May 14
#

dtc said :

I trust that y’all complained about the Majura Parkway as well, since it

a. costs a lot of money
b. gives no economic return
c. only links north canberra to the Highway and thus is of no benefit to people living in Tuggeranong or Woden etc
d. isnt going to be delivered on time (dont know about on budget)

In other words, exactly the same arguments as are being put about light rail.

The one difference is that the parkway is generally out of sight and out of mind.

Oh, and how could I forget – its about cars and not public transport.

a. Massively cheaper than light rail, and it’s partly federally funded. It also won’t be subsidised when in operation.
b. Significantly reducing commute times, and other travel times, is not an economic benefit?
c. People in Woden and Tuggeranong never drive to Sydney? Or to Gungahlin?
d. Is any govt project delivered on time?

I’m not a big fan of the way the current local govt does things, but the Majura Parkway seems a heap better thought out than the proposed light rail solution.

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39
HiddenDragon 11:37 am
19 May 14
#

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

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40
dungfungus 11:43 am
19 May 14
#

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

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41
HiddenDragon 12:28 pm
19 May 14
#

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

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42
dungfungus 1:08 pm
19 May 14
#

HiddenDragon said :

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

Don’t give them any ideas, please!

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43
Postalgeek 2:18 pm
19 May 14
#

Decent bike storage on a light rail is about the only thing that might improve the proposition of light rail for me. It’s one of the few ways you could extend the otherwise narrow usage corridor.

Light rail in Phoenix have this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g-9yX5RkQ0

There are several other ideas for storing bikes on transport

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/3383699295/

Having said that, I tend to agree with others who question the cost vs benefit of light rail.

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44
dtc 3:50 pm
19 May 14
#

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

a. Massively cheaper than light rail, and it’s partly federally funded. It also won’t be subsidised when in operation.
b. Significantly reducing commute times, and other travel times, is not an economic benefit?
c. People in Woden and Tuggeranong never drive to Sydney? Or to Gungahlin?
d. Is any govt project delivered on time?

I’m not a big fan of the way the current local govt does things, but the Majura Parkway seems a heap better thought out than the proposed light rail solution.

a. a bit cheaper but still several hundred million dollars
b. you can use the perfectly good roads we already have that are more or less empty 90% of the time. Plus at least light rail receives some income to offset the cost, (non toll) roads receive no income whatsoever. Ever. And still cost money in upkeep
c. see (b)
d. you pay peanuts, you get cheap contractors.

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45
Mark Parton 4:51 pm
19 May 14
#

HiddenDragon said :

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

Hidden Dragon, you win the prize for the comment of the day on this thread. Well done. You’ve scored for yourself an unlimited travel free Capital Metro pass for 2016. Enjoy the Northbourne views !!

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